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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 7, 2013 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT

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judge and an attorney. it was something that was very the day, within days of my employment, and it just increased. and it was done with such openness. wasas not something that going on behind the scenes. i mean, we had office statistics , and jennifer us in a system to where we were able to view these reports, it became more apparent. of can see the mass members favorable decisions going out. this was something that really came to light when ever this out.ronic folder came
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you could just see the massive amount of numbers. after this investigation started, management was still pulling. management was still pulling these cases out of the request states. at one point before, once they help them meet their monthly go, these decisions. they were waiting for them to come in the mail. they would bank fees for their own numerical purpose and hold them before sending them out the next month. there would be 50 cases all set
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favorable, on the record. himould allow them to put where this is with the judge for writing. they had been written two weeks ago. all favorable sitting there for the next month. these are the individuals. >> that was a great overview. thank you. people work inny the social security office in huntington? >> at one time i think we had about 60. >> at that office, maybe in the law office, other people had to know something was going on. >> absolutely.
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before of you have actually and areup shown courage here today. it sounds like you have been through a very difficult time. exactly what was it that compelled you to stand up and somebodyis wrong than needs to say and do something? what compels you to do this? i am not really sure. i probably would have been too scared to do it myself. anotherly spoke to in the area about what was going on. he contacted someone for me. that made it a little easier for me to be able to do. >> thank you.
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>> what gave you the courage to do it? >> melinda had taken the first step toward speak to someone about the problems within the office. i would approach to answer and give my insight to things involved at the law firm. question.ot any >> he cooperated with whom? >> it was the staff here. the subcommittee. .hen also the oig >> same question. >> i do not really know. left in 2007 and walked away from it until 2009. in 2009 i began to see some things in the media that was just about.
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i walked away from my house but and how i was mad again ready to take the next that to do something. i felt -- i found the complainant with the oig fraud division. the nothing really happened for a while. with mr.s contacted paletta and into the committee here. worked with them to bring it out. i think you have to have a certain level of anger over what to have theet you courage to come forward. to stepcompels you forward? >> i agree as far as the anger. we initially started reporting with the union rep. she came to me because of the
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disciplinary problems she was having with her supervisors. whenever i would have one-on-one talks with the office management, it was apparent that is not what they wanted to hear. at a point when they started retaliating and doing things not only to her but to me, i really truly believe that triggered something inside of me that i am a fighter when it comes to doing the right thing. they came to the point where i could not stop now. their to set an example. that is what i was trying to do. i would ask unanimous consent that my prior statement be made part of the record. >> thank you. i'm going to go through a list
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of questions. if you could answer them fairly rapidly. i think you probably have the answers to them. >> from 2001-2007. i initially was a senior technician. assigned byis only the master docking clerk or were they allowed to sign them their self? >> were the only ones assigning the cases and course something was brought to their attention. they avoid chopping or favoritism. it was not assigned to be -- supposed to be assigned to another judge.
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they were supposedly disciplined over something that was not your fault. is that the only way you can manipulate the system? there another way someone could still cheat the system today? >> there are numerous ways. it was when i was there. time, the numerical goals make it a priority to sort things around. if you have a case in one status for too long, that can be an issue. you want to make sure your processing things timely. you can change the status out of the cage or move it to a different status without ever doing anything to that case. >> you meet the numbers but you did not do anything. >> essentially.
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let me finish again. you turned to exhibit 26. that is in that big book in front of you. mail you wrote on september 11, 2007 to the hearing office director who was the top manager in charge of the office at that time. your experiment -- expressed serious frustration. you let him know you are quitting. your i am aware that he thought it was necessary to take away some more cases that were assigned to another judge and placed them in his name. i take it this was not the first time it happen? >> it begun approximately a year and a half prior. >> what made you so except?
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>> every time a case would disappear off the master docket comingy supervisor was to me for an explanation as to why. not performing my job to the full capacity, i will not receive a successful valuation. it had taken me a long time to figure out what caused this. there was no clear way to determine what happens. point ofcalated to a altercations with my supervisor. >> how long do you think he was doing this? >> by my estimation, it began after the folder process went into effect in 2005 only started that. >> how may times you remember this happening? i can countthink
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that. it was every month. it 15 or 1600 times. there is sometimes be 50 cases missing from my pending list or it might be five. it daily. they would be disappearing every day, sometimes every week. >> you also wrote he does many things like this every month. i make management aware of it. management has never done anything about it. what did you tell your managers? what was their response? >> it became clear to me that they were not going to do anything. i started making written notifications and including the name and social security number that i became aware of. from late two thousand five and so i left in 2007. >> was he ever disciplined for what he did? >> not to my knowledge.
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from onehese always particular lawyer? did he do it from so many? you notice many of the same problems in the west virginia office. can you describe your role in the offices, specifically as to what jennifer has talked about? receivingr was disciplinary reprimand, verbal denied at first for a union representative to even be present when they were verbally said as counseling. then it escalated to this verbal counseling. they would always put it in writing.
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battle with management to even let me be present. is when i got involved with not only management but even with my outside union president and vice president and chief steward. i began talking with management and keeping things in writing based on what conversation we had. understand the office joke is that if you're looking for judge doherty, do not look at his office. is that true? >> that is true. >> not by you but several other people? >> there were several occasions where they had to go next door or management will call him on his cell phone because there were people waiting in the hearing rooms for him. he was usually at the coffee shop at the holiday inn across the street. anyone know about his
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time? >> yes. reported it,others i reported it approximately two or three times. >> is anything done? >> no. >> it has been about two and half years since the problem became known publicly. have you witnessed any retribution recently for those who are still trying to speak out? >> yes. >> would you describe that? goodwill give you a really example. whoof the employees reported to the oig that the private investigator was hired followed, she went from being one of the top employees as far as production
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country,rkup in the she was number one, number two. management with projects that were not even management type projects to two weeks.nded for she was also reprimanded for inng the word "diversity" one of her evaluations. several employees that participated, we were now being charged with a wall. i have a police officer call my work and my 16-year-old daughter had been in a car accident. i had verbally went in and slaughtered the approval from management and received it and left the office. chargedame back, i was
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with a wall. -- awol> it is still occurring despite any medical service they are receiving. management is giving them the right to decide whether or not your condition is serious. denying employees leave. this is happening every day. you can speak with anybody in management, that is not happen before this investigation. >> can you describe judge writing? report of when he was holding hearings representatives, they
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would write the decision. these are paralegal writers. they would write the decision. , we had oneld writer specifically who said that there is not enough information for me to write this favorable decision. substantialenough evidence. she was told by the supervisor that if she did not write the decision that she would be held in subordinate. >> we have heard from judges today. he can take more than an hour or more. when he would hold hearings, how long would they take? >> about 10 minutes if that. did he issue a decision at the time? >> most of the time. yes. enough to go on and no testimony was
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taken. you can listen to the court reporting as a senior case technician. we would bring these hearings back in. you could listen to the recordings. he would just go on record and decision wast the favorable. there would be no testimony from the claimant or anybody. >> it is true that you noticed >> you will be followed by senator mccain, bald and, and high camp. >> thank you very much. you were targeted for speaking
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out. chief judge administrative law was annters and conyers employee that was a former police officer to videotape you on the days that you are supposed to be working from home. youare trying to catch going shopping or otherwise taking advantage of the rules. they were unable to provide any proof like that. the films going shopping on weekend. then evidence was fabricated in that videotape to make it appear as though you were going shopping during work hours. then it was turned over to your superiors. that correct? >> yes. >> they try to discredit you because they believe just spoken to a reporter about what was going on in the office. muchudge has admitted as
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and a signed statement to the social security administration. it is exhibit number 82. chillicothe ms. martin or ms. hicks? >> either will be fine. >> ok. you are married. a member of the huntington placed callsarly to you at the office informing working she would be from home. >> she actually did not call the office. she called my personal cell phone. >> were you at the office when she call? >> most of the time. knowanted me to let eric what day sarah would be on her flex days. us also called to give
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directions to her home, her dress. she told her she had a privacy fence that would be hard to record over and told us the top -- the type of vehicles they drove so it would be harder to find her. >> escape from the social security office. >> yes. >> was part of that a coded message? >> her children had band practice. i think the adjustment it was insisting it is her flex day, she would just call and say her children had band practice. >> a flex day is when employees are working at home? >> yes. >> that was a coded word for she supposed to be doing work at not at thex day and band practice? >> correct.
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>> you give the information to mr. khan? >> i did. >> this a stunning testimony. you are being tracked and followed here. have a witness from the social security administration office there who confirms that .hese were made tracked. be i am wondering. i think you initiated a lawsuit. against the social security administration. >> what kind of lawsuit? have you also thought about suing mr. conn? >> a lot of this information obviously i was not privy to
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within the last couple of days. it was quite shocking. is stated thatt the agency, once they found out this information that they did not use it. they did use it. the judge had talked to me and ordered an investigation with my supervisor at the time. they brought me into the office. they asked me a bunch of just to intimidate. it was very intimidating. when,ould not tell me where, how. at the time, my representative had requested any information they had documentation, with a
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base it on. told that there was not any. it was just an anonymous call. thisjust now finding out information. it is shocking. it is scary. >> i hope it'll will have an impact in many ways. you and mrs.both you pointedicated out what was going on to your bosses there at the social security office. i believe you alerted the chief of staff. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> what about chief judge andrews? did you inform him what was going on? >> most of the e-mails started to be copied to mr. andrews.
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on one particular occasion, takendaugherty had approximately 50 cases away and preparingn his office to write favorable decisions in i took them into the office. i showed them the cases. they removed them but then they were back. >> thank you. let me ask mrs. hicks. the bank records of judge 2005-2011 show cash deposits in $95,000. going as high as 5000 at a time. some of the 26,000 was posted to his doctors count -- daughter's account.
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declined to provide any information for the cash payments. there's no explanation of them in his financial disclosure forms. of you know anything about the cash deposits? know anything specifically about the cash deposits. i had been at the firm for quite a few years and working closely with eric. i pretty much knew where he was every day. there were some days he was unaccounted for. i had asked him one time. he came back and he was gone happy day. i told him i had a theory about him. he asked what the theory was. i said i think when you disappear one day much that you
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go and meet dv. he just looked at me and smiled. he said you know they say, where there's smoke there's fire. >> egmeet whom? judge daugherty. >> my time is up. to thank the witnesses. want to thank senator coburn and senator levin for the excellent work they and their staff have done. obviously, this is appalling. the things you read about in novels or see on tv. what is most disturbing, and i would like to begin with the witnesses who i want to thank
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is it true there was a pattern of intimidation your willingness to step forward? could i just go down the line and make sure that is an accurate statement? >> yes. ofcould you give me a couple the most egregious examples. >> everything from suspensions to -- >> videotaping. >> being videotaped, yes. >> that should not happen in america. mrs. griffith. >> i am much more fortunate. gone by that time. i was arty gone by the time the worst of the office environment, i had been gone for several years. during my time there, each reporting action was met with
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equal and opposite reaction of negative verbal reprimand. i have had missiles that would disappear in the reviews. i the last example before left, the supervisor had accused another union employee to go through my desk to determine if an e-mail was over a certain age and then in my preggers review she said that was her goal, to make sure i was not going to be there by the close of the year which would've been two months away. >> can i say one more thing? >> sure. >> during this investigation, we were able to obtain an e-mail from greg to howard goldberg -- identify them? >> greg was the office director. howard was an employee relations person in the region.
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we havel said sarah, suspended jennifer. >> once the wall street journal at ourired or came out office, things change. before you went into eric's .ffice he had a security wand you would have to go through security checks to make sure you do not have any phones or recording devices or anything like that before you would be allowed to enter into his office. he just became a lot more strict aware of who was around him. things that he said in the presence of certain people. there was no retaliation. we were asked if we have spoken to anyone or have been contacted. other than that, there was not
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anything. >> >> mrs. hicks? >> not for me personally. after the story came out, i did not stick around too much longer. n did start to do things crazy like having people call my phone so he could stop a person. i do not stay much longer. >> how do you know he had him do that? >> hit actually spoke to administrative law judge and i given my phone number to an employee there. she had left several messages on my phone to let me know when the employee was going to be off work so that he could send someone to follow her. you feltis no doubt intimidated. >> very much so. i do not want to be involved in it. it was bad enough that she had my number and left messages on my phone. he actually asked me to drive to her home. he would get upset if you told
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him no to anything. i told him i did not want to do that, if he would not talk to for a wild make you feel bad for not doing what he wanted. i just let shortly after that. seen,m what you have there is no way that judge daugherty could have had as many authority ands carried out a lot to the activities that he did without the active support of judge andras. >> correct. >> that obviously is disturbing. he was the chief judge here. reported to the director, he told me on several occasions that he had spoke with that he was and
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going to address the judges. the activity never did stop. >> how was your life now? t is not good.ce isn't >> shunned by fellow employees? >> for several years, every supervisor i was assigned to, i now have employees telling me that things that they were afraid to tell me at the time but they were each and everyone were told do not associate with person, i was a bad that if you wanted to be promoted in that office -- >> do you know who was it that was telling them these things? the supervisors. >> you know who they were? >> yes.
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>> my life is drastically different. i do not have the medical problems i had when i worked there that were caused by stress. right now i am going to school. very happy that i am not there now. i cannot imagine if it was bad for me as it was then which at there were a couple of thes i was taken out of office by ambulance because my blood pressure had reached the level of stroke. i have been working with my doctor for a number of years to try to get that down. was just going downhill. i cannot control the stress. i work for several years in the
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private sector. >> i'm not scheduled anything like that. >> i think the witnesses. i thank you. i know i say is that speak for all of us if we would try to see that no one else ever goes through what you have been through. obviously, there are problems here that are much larger than your office and you individually. you are the people that have made this possible. >> thank you. thate a mistake earlier the next senator recognizes senator hi kim. . >> he is always honest. amazing andu are really pretty remarkable women,
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you are doing something incredibly difficult and to have been doing incredibly difficult for a very long time. up for theand american taxpayers, for what is right. to extend my personal thank you but also the thank you on behalf of this country. is sounately, your story utterly remarkable. all of you attempted on every step along the way to try and get attention to this problem. i have heard repeatedly during this that management stopped and began to use intimidation. i am new on this committee but i think this is an opportunity for
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especially ms. carver and ms. griffith to name all of the people with a man is meant to happen intimidator's, if you happen ignored. i guess i would start with you to provide us a list of those names. i started with arthur weathersby. bobby bentley currently i have a new supervisor that has conducted an investigation on
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me. his last name is bo no. he is so relatively new that i do not even recall his first name at this point. >> my primary experience with it was with ms. kathy. >> it may seem odd that i asked you to name folks. it has been our experience that sunshine can go a long way. and at other agencies are operating like this, or other event like this are occurring within the system, having people know that your name will be listed in washington, d.c. in the hearing could provide may be some relief to folks in your situation who are calling out these kinds of egregious
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problems. i want to transition from what was happening internally. not only leadhis to a change of asked this you within that agency, it seems like there continues to be the -- pushback from the agency on what needs to be done. she talked about filing an inspector general complaint. want to make sure i have this right. you foul this in 2009 and did not hear from the inspector general till 2011 after the report in the wall street journal. is that correct? >> i believe that is correct. >> did you ever follow up with the ig?
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did you say it is more of the same, my blood pressure is going down. >> and made a few phone calls that it did not yield any results. i let it go. >> do you remember who it was? ityou have any record of who was in the office that you contacted? >> no. i only have a copy of the original e-mail confirming that complaint. that almost right after you fouled 2009. >> i think it might have even been the same day. something thatt was generated. to of our tasks is not just expose your situation but to look ahead and say if there are women like you in an agency who havingng intimidated or these problems and pointing out things that seem so blatantly , how do we fix that for
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other women with in the agency? have you thought about that? thought about it only does it would have made a difference? >> we currently have had several complaints fouled from women in our office. unfortunately, the way our greed -- grievancee procedure operates covenant we buy our first appeal with her line supervisor, are second with the hearing office director, and the third goes to the chiefalj at thes to the chief alj management level. our union can only arbitrate so many cases a year based on
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money. if your case is not selected to be arbitrated, you have no other recourse. problem is when you have a complaint about your supervisor, that's who you finally complaint with. not have the ability to be anonymous, to talk to anybody who is not going to user turn around and tell her everything that you just said about her or him or whoever. you do not have that protection. to two going to complain people who are responsible. >> you can avoid dealing directly with the complaint no matter how legitimate.
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the other thing that is striking about your discussion is not only is legitimate, but nothing got done. like toately, i would think that this does not happen in other agencies. courage to doous what you have done. it takes enormous courage to stand up. i want to tell you how much i applaud what you have done. it is hard to risk a family. you did it. you are really great americans. thank you. >> thank you. >> senator baldwin. >> thank you. holding this very revealing hearing. i also want to thank
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subcommittee chairman levin and ranking member of mccain for all of the work that went into this investigation. is incredibly revealing. i look at responsibility of this about at the think very specific level of the investigation before us our responsibility is to do whatever we can to make sure that people who abuse this for their own personal profit are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. responsibility to recognize the importance witnessesof these that have done the right thing and others who might be situated
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that we have their interest him mind that there will be protections for those that do the right things. have larger responsibilities for the integrity of the program we are talking about in the social security administration the right reforms and oversight need to be in place to prevent these abuses. i take all of those responsibilities very seriously. i know my colleagues on this committee do. i do want to state for the i have certainly some initial hesitancy to extrapolate beyond the case at hand based on the investigative report before us. to dig further
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and figure out how widespread this is. questions. couple of i wanted to start very specifically. they would contact her office once a month to provide the to 50 social security disability claimants that were represented by mr. conn. is that correct? how did that communication occur? >> he was usually called around the first of the month. our deadline to get him all of the information was by the 15th of every month. ourould place the call to office. i was usually the one who spoke to judge daugherty. he would give me the names of
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the individuals. and on theive names client. the would schedule is for investigation. did they call this into the office that you are aware of? >> no. his initialking panel. you talked a little bit about became aware of this and talked about a masked
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collusion. part of what you are describing what became apparent when you looked at this alj docket and the outcomes of those cases versus others. whatou walk me through stood out when you looked at those reports and those comparisons? >> depending on which report you with vile, you can get the monthly dispositions. you could do the work of three judges as opposed to one judge. you can also look at the amount of favorable decisions that he had versus the amount of other judges. all judges pretty much vary in their allowance rate.
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on one report you could see that they will go all the way down. favorable, was unfavorable, favorable. not only were you able to look at the amount he did each month, but you could look at the representative. you could also look at the decision. use the term allowance rate, is that the percentage of favorable? >> yes. without the reports in front of you, can you give us some idea of how much judge daugherty stood out in terms of the allowance rate? and a percentage? >> yes. some of the rates recorded at a national gail by
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the national security for the 13%.n i do not know if that was typical. how much? to ask unanimous consent to enter into the record the case of judge daugherty. his average was 99.7%. any sense ofve me the average of others in the huntington office? >> it would depend. you would average about 60% to 70% were favorable. and the judge daugherty eric conn what i had seen was 100%.
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hearingst even have for several years. if you look at that statistic is the likelihood that every claimant is disabled? >> right. thank you. >> thank you. want to thank the witnesses for being here. i have a feeling it will not be the last time you will be testifying somewhere. clearly, this report brings, it gets my heart bringing a little faster. we have had some good investigators on it that work for this committee.
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he put some good prosecutors on the set of facts. ,hose that work in the offices he did in other lawyers know this was in. np didn't the other lawyers representing the people with disabilities know this? >> i received numerous phone calls from others in the area. toward the end of 2007 than any other that had complained that they were losing their clients. was making a claim that they
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could get their case granted. >> they could. 100%. >> in response to that, that is why judge daugherty stopped having eric conn hearings because of the numeral -- numerous campaigns -- complains that when he did it for other representatives and moved more hearing schedule for other lawyers. this is a small community. it is an even smaller community because this is not a major metropolitan area. all the judges knew each other. all the lawyers knew each other. how many complaints were there about eric conn? >> to my knowledge, none. >> what about judicial
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complaints? >> to my knowledge, none. >> that is depressing. >> if this pressure to move which i thinkly, originally there was a desire that these not languish in that they moved through the system as quickly as possible, did you have sufficient staff to do that? time thisthe occurred. the staff has increased considerably since i left. >> initially, reminds me of a little this. we do not have enough people to do the work. people pretending they do background checks when they do not.
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they areetend like making a decision on merits when it is a pro forma decision. say this is a question for the other panels. i am assuming you sell meritorious complaint for disability. >> yes. you saw lawyers that were on this. >> yes. >> i want to say that. having lawyers -- knowing lawyers who have done this kind of work and people who receive a disability check that deserve it, i want to be careful that we get it on the record. i thought that senator coburn did a great job on television last night talking about the damage this does to the man he meritoriousny
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honestand honest alj and lawyers that are participating in the system across the country. clearly, this is outrageous. the facts lead for the ep -- lead where they appear, someone should be prosecuted. they are in front of good ones that are doing their best with the resources they have. since you know where -- newer a lotsnn was, was there of socializing with other judges on the schedule? >> usually the only time you socialize that i know of would judges is that the hearing office when he had hearings before then. >> thank you.
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>> i know he has more questions. let me ask a couple of my own. you have twoould others in the social administration who see things that are wrong? ride the train a lot. if you see something, say something. sort of the doctor that. what's advice would you have for others. >> it might be helpful to them and be encouraging to them. >> as you these occurrences -- see these occurrences happening, the most important thing to do is document them. without the documentation that beene, we would not have able to prove it. the administration i still
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believe that we somehow may have gotten our information from some other way. i believe it is like six or $7,000 a piece that are soundproof doors. soundproofed their offices. they now locked their offices every time they leave, even it is to a copier. it is not a matter of us stealing our information. it is a matter of recording and and then following up with a simple e-mail saying this is what we discussed. to you resolving it. that is what we did. >> what would you say to
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others that might be inclined to speak up? may be reluctant, maybe they're fearful. >> we would not be where we are kept accurateot accounts of things that went on and records. best advice i give to anybody is not to back down and not to be afraid. >> i agree. the documentation is the most important thing. >> thank you. >> i apologize. >> i agree with all of them. >> what advice do you have for us? it used to just be governmental affairs and has survived oversight responsibilities to the whole federal government.
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what we have done here is under the leadership is exercise our responsibilities under the governmental what advice would you have for us? given what you have been through, what you have learned? that we might be more constructive in the work that we of peoplee supportive like you who see things that ought to not to be happening. a >> ifo there should be some type of system of -- i feel there should be some type of system of accountability within each administration. i feel for the most part that managers, supervisors, those higher up in the agency are promoted, allowed to retire, he given monetary awards, that we
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as employees do not get. we are held to the same standard of conduct we do not get those. we would be fired, terminated, disciplined. until thisr known up investigation of anybody, any judge, any manager that has been disciplined. that they have been removed and promoted or a position created for them, but never held accountable for their actions. >> i think it is important to do would you have artie started to do. about one judge and one attorney. it is occurring everywhere. it is something that needs to have more safeguards put in place to prevent this from happening anywhere else because look at what it has cost.
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look at what one judge, one attorney has cost the american tax payers. be in place to protect not only the employees but the american taxpayers from having this benefit system hijacked. >> any advice for us? i think -- >> i think may be trying to make changes in the way lawyers and judges communicate together, allowing them to develop a personal relationship. i think that would help there it >> thank you. , one ofe i turn it over the things we have sought to do is to look at medicare, medicaid, and to see where put alogy can be used, spotlight on behavior that is
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questionable. you have doctors may be large amounts of controlled substances to a lot of people, in some cases the same person over and over again. credit card companies have been doing this for some time. for the credit card companies to say something is going on here and for us to be able to say, give me a call. what are you doing? i am not there. technology can be our friend here. we can put people like you less likely and harm's way, and the position of losing your job and your standing in the community. technology does not solve all of our problems but it can help here.
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do you have any comment on that? somebody outside of the agency needs to know how to read the technology. we have the availability to see those reports. that was published in that article as far as the favorable rates. anybody could look at this information. but we need somebody on the outside who knows how to look at the information and know what is to be able to recognize, this is a red flag here. go through this fairly quickly because there are some things i want to get on the record. if you would look at exhibit 22 and 28, i will some questions and then turn to you. is an e-mail you sent.
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it was one of the times you alerted him that he was assigning cases represented by mr. cahn and you wrote the following. elected to assign himself cases. how did you know that he was assigning himself cases? it is just your e-mail. >> i had discussed of this. if jennifer had come to me as the union representative and had discussed the situation because he was one of the first judges that was trained on the however theile, electronic files, we had cases from other attorney
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representatives, but he was selecting -- >> was is the first time you noticed he was doing this? >> this is probably around the first time that jennifer had come to me over it. verbally.ve >> were you aware of any time he had assigned himself cases represented by another lawyer? >> no. >> you said in your e-mail that the agency could take certain -- why do you think he was calling the judge to let him know those cases were on the way? intercepted these cases before they were assigned to a judge. >> is that the only extra nation that he would know what the cases were to go into the file if he had no knowledge of what those cases were, how would he know what to look for?
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could you search by the lawyer's last name? >> not that they had not been receded yet. >> said he had to know the cases? >> he had to know the social security number. >> you had the e-mail saying all of this was not going unnoticed. you mean by widely known? was everybody in the office talking about this? >> yes. >> i should not use the word everybody. >> a large number of the girls who were processing the cases. >> thank you. number two exhibit 28. seem to gom did not away after you raised it to management's attention. from you to-mail judge william. you wrote, for your information, someone was closing this case and it was originally your case. they took it. can you describe in more detail
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what happened and why you sent this e-mail? >> this was one of many e-mails int i began to actually send alj's would start complaining. >> and on the record determination can only be made positively. is that correct? clark's correct. 2.5his e-mail was sent years after the e-mail from jennifer griffith which we had discussed. did you see him assign cases after management was made aware of the problem? >> yes. ?> was there ever any follow-up >> yes. i had talked with the judge on several occasions. had e-mailed on
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several occasions and told the judge if he did not take care of the problem he would take it outside of the office. >> you actually worked for a long. of time. what did you actually do for him? were you his miss everything? >> i started as a claims taker. when i left, i was doing managerial duties. >> were you the most senior employee? >> yes. workedthe time that you in the office, how important would you say he was to the success of the law firm? >> very successful. very important. >> when did you grow concerned about the relationship? >> when i first moved to the hearing department and noticed that he was the only one we did not hold hearings for, i river
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asking why it was different for him. we were just told that is what he preferred to do. a dbn you tell us what list was? claim thatist was a was once a month that he wanted us to send for an evaluation and send for an on the record decision. >> how are these lists created? >> i would create the lists when i was given the information. >> would you look at exhibit 18? this is at the top of the first document. it says db june quarters do. can you describe what that means? you have the claimant's name, social security number, as a call would be meaning which kind of report was requested.
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aod is amended onset date. there was a prior decision or if there was an age due to the grid roles. the age grid or 2 -- >> yes, sir. say it is a cult. aegion sometimes it's are? >> he would leave that at the physical. -- some say it sometimes say either? >> he would leave that at the discretion. >> exhibit 18, there is a huge stack of db list dated from 2006 d.o. 2010. when went a day using db list? >> i do not know. when i moved to the hearing department to they were already in place. 2000 six?o
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>> no. i did not move there until maybe late 2008. >> they were there then? >> yes. >> how often were you called with a list of clients? >> once a month. >> who would he send his clients o once judge jordi -- >> if it was physical, -- if it was mental, it was brad atkins. >> what would they get in return? >> it was $400 per evaluation and brad atkins was -- i am not exactly sure. in the $300 range. >> they would give them defining conn wanted.. >> did you ever have occupational therapists in your office?
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>> not to my knowledge. >> where did he find doctors that he knew would give him the medical answers that he wanted? >> the doctor had already been performing evaluations for several years prior to my employment. same with dr. aitkin's. doctors that for have had prior sanctions and problems. he said his was easier to hire them. do for mr.you conn and talented you work there? >> i was there for six years and did a number of things. i was managing the office at one point. i have even been the receptionist. for about a year and a half or two years, i mostly went to hearings. conn'se would mr.
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clients get when they needed to be seen by a doctor? >> he had a medical, but only the last year or two. mostly they were seen there. the doctor's office was in walking distance so the clients would go to his office. and for brad, i think they mostly saw him at his own office as well. >> could you described to me a typical day when the doctor was seeing patients in mr. conn's office? -- generalize, nonspecific. >> when the doctor was in the office, he probably saw anywhere from 15 to 25 clients. he did not spend a lot of time with him. his wife saw them first. i'm not a sec wish her what she forbut he only saw them maybe 20 minutes at the most, sometimes less than that.
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>> was there ever a time that he did not sign the pre-filled out form? >> not that i am aware of. >> was there ever a time he requested a change? >> not that i am aware of. >> since rules prohibit claimant forers from charging them doctor visits when additional evidence is requested, where would mr. can't get the money to pay for these exams? moneym not sure where the came from. he wrote checks to each of the doctors. i assume that was from the office account. >> would he require all clients promising totract pay for the additional medical costs? >> they all signed a contract. for a while it was on camera but that did not last long. it was too hard and cost too much money. >> when he was finishing
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examining someone, you would get a brief report. these forms would be sent to the judge to approve the cases. .lease look at exhibit 45 can you explain how he used this form and others like it? >> for the physical and medical assessment form, during the time that i dealt with these, there were 10 different ones. they were just labeled one through 10. these would be printed out. if we had 50 claimants come in, then 50 of these would be someone wouldd just handwrite the name of the individual and their social security number at the top attached to the medical report and both would be signed at the same time. >> these were pre-filled out
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forms. >> yes, sir. for the record, of all the forms, every one of them, every one of the forms said demonstrated reliability -- poor. every form. so that means nobody came office,mr. conn's nobody was esther then poor at demonstrating reliability. that's will be important later. how was it decided which form would go with which client? fashione was no form or . it was just random. >> did you doctor ever review the forms to ensure they matched the client's? >> not that i'm aware of. >> did he ever ask for a form to
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be changed? >> not that i'm aware of. >> to approve on the record like this? >> no, sir. >> what do you think was going on? i'm not asking to speculate. what does common sense tell you? >> common sense as talk of the office was that he was paid to do so. >> i would ask unanimous consent to enter into the record the list of the rfc forms and noting that they all show poor on demonstrated ability. i have one other set of questions for you. some of the details became public in an article which you related to. what was the reaction inside the office at that time? >> chaos. absolute chaos. >> describe that.
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everyone was in panic. there was not a lot of work done at all. that damienhe day came to visit our office. no one spoke to him. he went to the subway next door. we had employees there. they told me to go get them because they had to come out of the subway. he did not want anyone around him. at the time, he had to get himself prescribed medications. one of the doctors gave that to him. he laughed and joked that when it came through our office to ask questions, that he was high on the pills he was prescribed. that was the only way he was able to speak to them. 75.hese look at exhibit this is a receipt from family cellr for a throwaway phone. can you explain why he would use these phones? >> after the article came out in the wall street journal, he actually purchased a lot of
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these. the judge to for call the office because he said of the phones were tapped or if anyone looked at the phone records, they would see they were still communicating so he purchased a lot of these. the reason for that was the first time they purchase cell phones, the judge forgot to use his phone and called him -- i do not remember if it was from his home number or the social security office -- but he called the tracfone without using his track phone so they had to throw them away to get new ones. one of the most troubling findings of our investigation is he destroyed a huge volume of documents related to his disability practice once his relationship became public. sought describe what you in regard to what happened with those events? >> most of those came after his mother left the office.
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we went through and there were a lot of changes left in the office. were several there files that were kept in what we called the closed building. those were, depending on their age, gotten rid of. a lot of documents were at his mother's office. he went through those and decided what needed to be destroyed. >> was this after the inspector general's visit? >> yes, sir. >> so all of this occurred after the inspector general's visit. >> yes, sir. >> what was unusual about this time? >> to my knowledge, i do not remember us ever having document destruction of this size. >> why do you think you wanted to destroy the lists? >> i guess just not to have .nything
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>> was there anything said about making sure the lists were destroyed? >> he told us to check our offices and make sure that we did not have any lists. >> what did you do with these electronic files? files -- doronic you mean -- >> the computer files at your office. >> we had replaced several computers in our office with new ones. employees remove the hard drive from the computers and destroy them. they would smash them with the hammer and later burn those. >> did he ever make any statement to you about why he was destroy all of his documents? >> he called it spring cleaning and did not want any documents in the office. >> think you, all.
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-- thank you, all. >> i just had one additional question here. you watch or both of for doctorslooked with disciplinary problems? >> yes. >> you say you watched. where was he looking? >> in his office. he was looking on the computer at the kentucky board of licensor. he would look at doctors who had sanctions or problems with their license in the past. he would print out their
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information. i know i made several phone calls to doctors to see if there'd be interested in doing evaluations for him. >> you also saw that? >> yes. >> and the reason is, i think you testified to it, and he said it would be easier to work with them? >> he said before that he refer to those as for doctors. he said it they had sanctions and had their license suspended before, he could get them to do whatever he wanted and they were cheaper to work with. >> you heard him say that? >> yes, sir. >> i am done. >> i think that concludes this part of our hearings.
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want to make a closing remark or you would like to say before you are dismissed? >> no, thank you. you very much. >> thank you for listening to us. >> reticular late, we thank all of you. particularly, we thank all of you. saylbert einstein used to adversity provides opportunity. we have some opportunity here. the opportunity is for you to learn from this experience and to make sure it is not happening in other places around the country when we are trying to make these difficult social security determinations so we can better ensure we are not wasting money, throwing money away at the time when we are running out of money.
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my hope, my prayer is that something is going to happen. said, before i excuse you and bring forth our second panel, we will start voting. at least one vote at 5:00. and then come back and vote. i will return shortly after that silly to not have to slow things down. it >> i had one additional question. we will have a doctor in the that made recommendations for social security and recommendations for mr. conn. was it ever noticed in the social security office the disparity of those two sets of recommendations, one by a paid attorney and one paid by the social security office and that they set opposite things? >> yes. >> yes.
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>> thank you. >> that if the last question. thank you so much. as our first panel prepares, i will ask our second panel to come to the table. introduction brief of my witnesses on the second toel and i will ask them take an oath and be sworn in to testify.
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>> gentlemen, thank you for joining us this afternoon. i will briefly introduce this panel of three witnesses. we will begin with dr. david -- had you pronounce your last name? p.id thank you for that correction. dr. from west union of ohio. next we have dr. bradley atkins. the psychologist from kentucky. a pulmonary disease
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specialist who comes to us today from kentucky. is that correct? >> yes. >> enqueue. >> are standard practice and investigative hearings is to have witnesses sworn in. i will ask each of you to please stand and raise your right hand. you swear that the testimony you give before this community -- this committee will be the truth, the whole truth, so help you god. please, be seated. do you have any opening remarks? all right. >> no, sir, i do not. >> do you have any correction to
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the statements made in the opening statement or to the facts released by the committee today? >> on the recommendation of counsel, i respectfully decline to answer based upon my fifth- amendment rights. >> all right. is it your intention to assert your fifth-amendment right to any question that might be directed to you by the committee today? >> yes, sir, it is. >> given the fact that you intend to assert your fifth- for allt right
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questions asked of you today, you are excused. >> thank you. dr. bradley, you are recognized for your statement. you are welcome. thank you very much. ladies and gentlemen, my statement will be relatively short. i'm here today to tell the truth . i have nothing to hide. if the ladies and and on the committee have read my testimony , i do understand that it seems like the biggest question regarding my performance or my relationship with mr. eric conn rsc's in question.
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i would be more than happy to eliminate or talk about that. , you asked ifing i had any reaction to anything that had been said, particularly by mr. coburn, i would take being painted with a broad brush of being someone who was recruited i mr. eric conn. the fact of the matter is i have no story or checkered past professionally. there have been no sanctions against me. nothing of that kind. also, i was not recruited by mr. conn. several years before the rfc incident in question k about out came about, i was trying to build a practice. at the time i actually went to and became a vendor for
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the the kentucky department of disability determinations. isthe fact of the matter that i was not recruited. i was trying to build a this and looking for potential referral bases. thank you. >> you may continue if you have other things you would like to say, and then we will hear from the other witness and askar's a both of you. you are welcome to continue. no, sir, i believe that is all i have the same at this time. thank you, though. good afternoon. south from india am a india, and i trained in chicago, and then i moved to another area. [indiscernible]
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i am the on the directors of a couple of hospitals. i have no licensure issues on my practice. i never had medical problems. problems.d any legal my practice is an honest practice, and i am happy with my wife. she is also a physician. the place i came from, south ruled the british for almost 250 years, three generations of my family worked in the farms. we grew uptrict law, three generations of hard work. finally, we became a professional -- >> what did you raise on those
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farms? >> rice. -- [indiscernible] am i moved to america moved to america, and my family members also moved here. almost 25 members and my close family [indiscernible] in my home we have two girls, medical students, and a top- notch hospital in the usa. andgirl got a scholarship, my one son, he is the only one in his county, and national merit scholar this year. [indiscernible] not have any problem.
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i am happy to answer any questions you have. [indiscernible] i am happy in my practice. i am part of the community. i never had any of my pending bills to a collection agency. i am a big part of the community. eric conn wasr. my patient. [indiscernible] also became my patient. he offered me a position, if he came to my office, i could give him heavy business, you do not need to practice on all. [indiscernible] i refused him. 2010, december,
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he said that [indiscernible] asks me to do a comprehensive exam for his patients. [indiscernible] i accepted. i said it is a good thing to can havey office so i a better understanding. he starting bringing patients to my office. i was seeing patients. december, 2010. he was getting more demanding, writing a letter that response andick more deadlines. practice -- i
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have a busy practice. a good practice. doctors are really board-certified. if i am looking for money, i can start a parractice -- [indiscernible] get $400 per visit per patient. painer practiced medication practice in my life, even though i am board- certified. he was moreat time demanding. he is a big because person in the local area. him slowly, and one time he asked me, he said
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his assistant, david clark, came to do a [indiscernible] review. [indiscernible] subway my girls go to the subway. the rumors came out, and i did not know, even though two months ago and next door, when he was rated by the agents because that -- in my one practice i just go to the hospital, see the patients, and if i have time, he spent time with my kids, with my wife. this has been going on with mr. eric conn.
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i stopped my practice with him completely. once i knew that was not good for me, i stopped that. >> thank you for that testimony. dr. coburn has offered to remain. a vote is on the floor. this committee meeting, the markup of the nomination for a deputy position at the office of management of budget, we would do those at the same time. here.burn will stay he has a number of question to ask of you. be back here very shortly. dr. coburn, thanks. >> thank you both for being here. i appreciate you coming. some very concerning things if you listen to our first panel. doctor, i have a list of questions i will go through with you, but have you ever seen the ama guide for evaluation for physical disability?
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have you ever seen the ama guide did youelines -- follow that as you did these exams on these patients? i did not follow. >> you did a mental status exam on each patient? >> no, sir. >> why not? >> because it required a physical exam. it was your testimony and formseeling that the rfc were filled out by occupational therapists? >> yes. >> who told you that? >> initially, when i started working, seeing the patients, i am good enough with a physical examination, and eating a [indiscernible]
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v.a.the department of evaluations. >> i understand, but who told you that how occupational therapists did the portion of the exam -- conn and david clark. they werey assured done by occupational therapists? >> yes. >> and he communicated that to you? >> yes. i have no exams, doubt that you are a great physician. i have no doubt your testimony you were trying to do mr. conn a favor. i do not doubt the veracity of that. >> thank you. >> and you said in your openings
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aid meant, if i follow, you were not aware of the size and scope practice when you started doing these exams for him? modelhad a huge practice in the area. he was the only one. [indiscernible] >> and it was your testimony that you quit working for mr. conn in 2011 because of the negative news coverage he was getting? >> yes, and also, i have a heutiful, good practice, and suddenly called and said can you see a patient? and i have my whole other schedule. he is demanding, he wrote a letter demanding --
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>> you could not meet his demands. the testimony was after news broke and the investigation started that that is when you quit, but it actually took you five months after the first news story to stop seeing patients conn?., and conn -- mr. >> yes. you, i'm busy with my practice, i go to five hospitals, and i did not know what was going on in the next four. >> you were not aware until five months after the story broke what was being -- >> yes, sir. that's all -- let's see. and your testimony was that you saw all these patients at your office. at no time did you see a patient in mr. conn's office?
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>> he invited me. he had everything in his office, and he invited me to come and do [indiscernible] to do everything in his office. >> but you said no? >> i said no because of my professional pride. for a me go to the rfc's minute. if you do not perform an evaluation on the claimants' rfc's, who did? >> [indiscernible] testimony thatd nobody did this today they were randomly filled up by his office that? >> that i came to know, sir. >> why did you sign them? if you did not do them, why did you put your signature on them? we know, being a physician for many years, -- this hearing leave
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now. you can follow it online, as the house returns to work on a bill to temporarily fund the food and drug administration. the speaker pro tempore: making continuing appropriations for the food drug administration for f.y. 2014 and for other purposes and ask for immediate consideration. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the joint resolution. the clerk: joint resolution making continuing appropriations for the food and drug administration for fiscal year 2005 and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to house resolution 371, the joint resolution is considered read and shall be debatable for 40 minutes equally divided and controlled by the committee on appropriations. the gentleman from alabama, mr. aderholt, and the gentleman from
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california, mr. farr, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from alabama. mr. aderholt: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and include material on h.j.res. 77 and include tabular material on the same. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. aderholt: i yield myself such time as i may consume. i rise in support of h. joint ress 77 which continues funding for f.d.a., which is necessary o this critical operation in order to support our nation's public health and the millions of jobs associated with f.d.a. activity. most members in this body may not realize it but the f.d.a.-regulated industries account for just almost 25% of the consumer spending in the
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united states of america. f.y. 2013 ag appropriation included funding of $4.2 billion, $2.5 billion from discretionary funds and $1.7 billion from user fees of of greatest importance is to ensure that our constituents continue to consume safe foods and use safe and effective drugs and medical devices. despite reduced funding levels overall for f.y. 2013, we were able to provide a strategic increase of $12.5 million for food safety activities and $10 million for food and drug safety inspections in china. these funding increases will continue under a c.r. in addition to the funds appropriated for the f.d.a., this resolution we are debating this afternoon will allow f.d.a. to collect and collect user fees. the fees are charged to the
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industry support, such life saving activities for review and approval of new and generic drugs as well as medical devices. this house has already passed a resolution to fund the public health activities at the n.i.h. and awaits the senate's approval. also usda meat and poultry inspectors deemed critical to our nation's food supply and stayed on duty. it is now time for this body to continue funding one more critical component of our public health infrastructure. the food and drug administration touches every member of this house, either directly or indirectly. and we need the entire agency back at work and need to limit any damage to the millions of jobs impacted by f.d.a.'s work in the food and bioscience industries. now is a chance for my colleagues to join me in keeping
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this program fully operational. i ask my colleagues support this resolution that we are debating this afternoon and ensure that all critical elements of our nation's food and drug supply be protected. i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from california is recognized for 20 minutes. ask tock mr. speaker, recognize for as much time as i may consume. mr. speaker, my colleague and chair mr. aderholt just said that this bill is necessary because funding for the f.d.a. is necessary. he's absolutely right. but this bill doesn't do all that. you cannot just fund one not nent of government and
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have the rest of government. f.d.a. relies heavily on the centers for disease control. we do nothing to fund the centers for disease control. so as just one critical component of the federal government, it isn't the federal government and that's been shut down. i adamantly oppose this legislation. we have been here a number of days now that the government has shut down because people are trying to use the appropriations process, which is every school hild knows and the president asked and then the congress disposes and we use the appropriations committee to dispose that and we make the decisions. the president came to congress asking for $1.2 trillion in expenditures.
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the republicans rejected that in their budget and came up with a ch less budgeted, $960 billion. this bill on the floor, the big the democrats agreeing to $286 billion. that's a $200 billion reduction. that's just amazing. i don't think this has ever been done before with that big of a cut has been made to the federal government. and yet, we can't pass it. the senate has passed it because everyone knows it's a bicameral process and whatever the president signs has to be passed by both houses. the senate has passed over a bill here, clean as we say without all kinds of conditions and that would go to the president if the house would vote for it. it could go forward tonight. this charade of shutting down government would be over
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tonight. we have to pass what the senate sent over here. but no, here we go again. we are going to take it in piece meal fashion, with the f.d.a. i want to point out, since i have been here in 20 years, we've passed 111 c.r.'s, enacted. and in fact, under president bush, we passed 56. i'm sure every one of the republicans pass those -- 56 without conditions. democrats didn't try to bring down the house. and even under president obama, 19 c.r.'s. ssed why can't we do it now. why can't we do what this house been doing for decades, passing the c.r. to keep government open. it's not the responsible thing for our committee. the c.r. is given up because we
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haven't passed appropriation bills that are really the mechanics of how we ought to be spending money. my colleague, mr. aderholt, 94 times voted for a c.r. i cannot support this piecemeal specialty of the day. let's just vote for one segment of the government and ignore all the rest. i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from alabama. mr. aderholt: i yield four minutes to the chairman of the full appropriations committee, mr. rogers of kentucky. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. rogers: mr. speaker, this duringkes sure that even this shut down, the food and drug administration's critical safeguards remain in place to protect our food and drug supply, the health of our people
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should not be jeopardized. this legislation provides funding for the f.d.a. at the current post-sequestration annual rate. this will provide funding to maintain protections for food, drugs and medical devices and allow the f.d.a. to collect and spend user fees. the length of this authority will last until december 15 or until we enact year-long appropriations that addresses the funding of the federal government in full. as with each of the other individual bills we have considered this week, the language in h.j.res. 77 is nearly identical to what was included in not clean continuing resolution back in september. this bill moves us a step closer to the finish line. but we've got to remember that we can't get there much faster
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if we find a way to fund the entire government. this will require cooperation and conversation from both senate and the house. this will be the ninth bill the house has sent to the senate to reopen the federal government. the ninth bill, mr. speaker. the house has voted to provide nearly one-third of the funding to reopen the government, but unfortunately the senate won't even consider these bills. and so the government is still shut down. our colleagues in the senate say they want a clean c.r., but when we sent them these bills, pieces of a clean c.r., the clean funding mechanisms known to us, they won't even bring them up for a vote. his is not how to fund the federal government. my preference would be to have passed full year appropriations bills of all the government
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before september 30. the house made great strides toward that goal. our committee approved nearly all of our animal bills and the house passing four of them. yet the senate would not even pass a single bill off the floor of the senate. but i still hope and believe that we can find a path forward that will require both parties, both bodies to find ways to work together to end this shutdown. as we work to that end, we can pass this bill to ensure that nearly all of the federal government's food safety activities are funded during the shutdown. i urge support of the bill. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from california. mr. farr: i would like to yield two minutes to the distinguished ranking woman on the full
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committee on appropriations, mrs. lowey from new york. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for two minutes. mrs. lowey: mr. speaker, i rise in opposition to the reckless republican shutdown. i wish my colleague had shown the same level of concern to the food and drug administration over the last three years since democrats passed the landmark food safety and modernization act, republicans have done nothing but stand in the way of its implementation by underfunding the critical need in the f.d.a. bill. this bill is nothing more than a republican ploy and the claim that democrats are not negotiating is absolutely false. house republicans wrote a bill, sent it to the senate. the senate adopted the most
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important part of it, the funding level, and the president agreed to sign it even though the democrats want greater investment to support economic growth. the only thing democrats say no to are irresponsible efforts to put health care decisions back in the hands of insurance companies, which has nothing to do with keeping the government open. that is democracy. that is negotiation. we have done more than meet in the middle, but the republicans now say no to their own bill. shutdown today if the majority would only support a reasonable solution to allow a vote on the republican-written senate-passed bill. vote no and demand a house vote to immediately end the reckless
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republican shutdown. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentlelady has expired. the gentleman from alabama. mr. aderholt: i recognize the gentleman from michigan, mr. up ton, who is chair of the full committee for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan is recognized for one minute. . mr. upton: it is imperative that our -- that the f.d.a. focus on important issues. over the last week, the house has acted to reopen major parts of our government. the legislation before us is yet another piece of theafert to continue critical programs for the american people from food inspections to the approval of breakthrough new drugs, members on both sides of the aisle indeed understd
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